Sunday, 27 May 2012

Free Education

Recently, we are being heard about the hot debate regarding PTPTN issues between the opposition and our government. As far as I know, this is one the big manifesto from opposition that they want to apply and they promise to make it happen if they win in the next election. The issue is about demolishing the PTPTN and makes it as a free education.

To abolish PTPTN and government-loan systems as well as set up free education in Malaysia. It sounds great on paper but unfortunately; carrying it out may not be as simple.

These are only two of the better-known models of higher education financing – but it is already evident that there are numerous possible policy configurations. The efficacy of a policy solution depends on national circumstances. As such, we urgently need to evaluate Malaysia’s educational circumstances in light of other models, and in interaction with other policy spheres, such as tax structures and the labour market. 

To make the decision will need to cater fhe increasing number of students every year and It also must include the factor for the increasing tuition fees pushed upwards by inflationary pressures.

When these two factors combine, it will mean one thing: the total amount of cost will keep increasing every year.

Unless Malaysians in general got bored of sex or God forbid there is a famine, war or an epidemic, our population will continue to grow. And unless we are in a prolonged recession that causes deflationary pressure to bring our prices down, then tuition fees will continue to rise

Whether free education is the right alternative, it is still open to debate. But the issue at hand is - PTPTN, more suitable mechanism to manage higher education financing must be found to create a better policy in giving education finance.

PTPTN serves to finance the need for higher education for hundreds of thousands of students year after year. The money loaned-out is used primary to settle tuition fees as set by the institution of higher learning.

Perhaps government need to look into standardize the tuition fees for public university as it is now very from one to another. UiTM for example have the lowest tuition fees compare to other public universities in Malaysia.

For private collage, government should look into regulate to insure that the tuition fees in not overprice and based on the quality of course deliver.

For critical professional courses like accounting, engineering or medic that provide twin programme with international university in private collage, government should at least subsidize a percentage of the cost of the tuition fee as part of incentive for the student.

Student loan (PTPTN) is still relevant to cover the cost of living however the government should work out a plan to minimize the cost for student to borrow so it will not burden the student in the future.

We can improvise the PTPTN by changing it to an Islamic interest plan and dropping down the level of interest. In issue of repayment, PTPTN could take a leaf out of the EPF’s mechanism that deducts a certain amount of money from a graduate’s monthly salary until the loan is settled and makes it compulsory. Waiting and expecting defaulters to pay back on their own initiative will be a long and painful process that makes no difference to the current situation.

The only reason why PTPTN is facing so much trouble is because of its lack of enforcement in loan recovery. Though the corporation has tried many methods, including blacklisting that prevents defaulters from leaving the country – this has been met with criticism and backlash by the very same people who borrowed from the money

Personally, I do believe that the Malaysia can move towards free education but surely it will take time to create a very good framework.

As for parents, it’s a good thing if we just can start to open a bank account for our children education in the future. It is far more better way than just to brag out of an issue like this. I believe we have better things to do and better thing to think of.

Note: Still working to repay my MARA loan

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